This exhibit traces the development of Nantucket lightship baskets from their 19th-century origins to the diverse traditional and experimental forms being created by the island’s weavers today. It highlights individual makers across time and features both the José Reyes workshop and a special case displaying the many basket purse designs he invented before settling on the iconic form still prized by collectors today.
The workshop of José Reyes was donated to the Nantucket Lightship Basket Museum in 2001 by the Reyes family.
Displayed at the front of the shop are carvings of whales, seagulls, nameplates, and other items available for a custom order to adorn your friendship purse. Never without his hat, traditional Philippine hats are hung on the woven palm walls with care, surrounded by basket rims, cane, and other basket-making supplies. Looking closer inside the shop, you can see José’s workbench, complete with tools and other necessities used to create his sought-after baskets.
We invite you to visit José Reyes’s workshop and take a peek inside the inner workings of a Nantucket lightship basket weaver’s world.